TV

Important Things With Demetri Martin

By Daniel McQuade
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Feb. 11, 2009

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Demetri Martin--a 35-year-old stand-up comic and occasional Daily Show correspondent--has turned his smart and witty routine into a decent show with a funny premise and a lot of promise. But it hasn't yet hit its stride.

Each of the first two episodes features stand-up, sketches and music on a different "important thing." Some of the bits are almost Monty Python-esque in their absurdity. There's no rhyme or reason to each segment, other than the tenuous (at best) connection to the episode's theme. Martin's jokes are generally quips and one-liners.

The show sometimes spends too much time on a segment, turning a funny sketch into an unbearable one. (This is what we'll call The Family Guy Principle, though Martin's original jokes are much funnier.) There's also a lot of filler. Some of the little video clips or mini-sketches aren't too long, but they're almost universally unfunny and boring. Both episodes I've seen--"Timing," which airs tonight, and "Power," airing next week--could've been much tighter. They both suggest that the show's writers ran out of material after about 18 minutes, and then plopped these in to stretch out the episode.

That's quibbling, though, as the first two episodes often do deliver. "Power" even has Martin making a successful Milli Vanilli joke--which in 2009 is right up there with cold fusion in terms of difficulty.

Important Things is one of the stronger comedy debuts television has seen in a while. Martin's comedy has always been deceptively smart; with just a little work his show could surpass anything he's done in stand-up.

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1. Jonathan said... on Feb 22, 2009 at 10:01PM

“Did you really write this? Talk about filler. It's good, but it's not that good. I mean, it's really good, but sometimes goes on too long. I mean, when it's short, it's sometimes good...blah blah blah. This kind of piece belongs in the Metro, not PW. How is something that is at times "unbearable" with sketches that are at times "universally unfunny and boring" possibly to be viewed as "one of the stronger comedy debuts television has seen in awhile." Might as well say that television sucks nowadays -- a fair argument to be made. But this kind of journalism is pitiful and lacking any insight from an entertainment writer.”

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